I am a little shocked that I managed to complete my Goodreads Challenge this year, what with having a rather weird year of reading. I managed to read a total of 70 books, which was quite a cut considering that I started the year off quite ambitiously by declaring a goal of 150 books. Even though I read a total of 70 books, it doesn’t really feel like I read all that much because let’s face it – this year was largely dominated by Sarah J. Maas so that made it difficult to say the least! But as 2016 slowly crawls to an end, I thought it’s time to share my top 10 books for the year… Let’s see which ones made the cut (in no particular order):
THE WRATH AND THE DAWN BY RENEE AHDIEH
I completed the second book, The Rose and The Dagger, recently and I have to say that I was left mildly disappointed by it. It was quite an anti-climax for me, especially since I waited so long to read it; AND because I absolutely adored The Wrath and The Dawn. I loved the intensity in the first book, along with the beautiful, descriptive writing that completely captivated me and made it such a pleasure to read. It was also lovely to read a book of this calibre with such a diverse setting, and I cannot wait to read more books written by this immensely talented author. For my full review of this book follow this link – The Wrath and The Dawn
“So you intend to go through life never loving anyone? Just … things?”
“No. I’m looking for something more.”
“More than love?”
“Is it not arrogant to think you deserve more, Khalid Ibn al-Rashid?”
“Is it so arrogant to want something that doesn’t change with the wind? That doesn’t crumble at the first sign of adversity?”
– Renee Ahdieh, The Wrath & The Dawn
“In her ear, he whispered, “Do better than this Shazi. My queen is without limitations. Boundless in all that she does. Show them.”
– Renee Ahdieh, The Wrath & The Dawn
A COURT OF MIST AND FURY BY SARAH J. MAAS
Hands down, this is my favourite book of the year – I read it three times in the space of a few months!!! I completely fell head over heels in love with Sarah J. Maas’s stories after reading this book and I’ve become such a fan in a really short amount of time. If I start talking about ACOMAF right now then I will not stop, so I will just direct you to a post where I talk about it some more.
“I was not a pet, not a doll, not an animal.
I was a survivor, and I was strong.
I would not be weak, or helpless again
I would not, could not be broken. Tamed.”
― Sarah J. Maas, A Court of Mist and Fury
EMPIRE OF STORMS BY SARAH J. MAAS
I must say, after ACOMAF, Empire of Storms is my second favourite book this year. After reading every single one of Sarah J. Maas’s books this year I could really see her growth after each book and I’m still completely baffled as to how she managed to keep the storyline fresh and interesting. Even though ACOMAF will always be my favourite, she really took the cake with Empire of Storms. Her writing, her plot twists, along with her character and world building was truly magnificent. I wish I could be a fly on her wall just to see her writing process, because I cannot begin to imagine what it must be like to think up the kinds of twists and turns that came along with this book. It was mind boggling! I loved every minute of it, and truthfully I am still not over that ending…
“Even when this world is a forgotten whisper of dust between the stars, I will always love you.”
THE STRANGE AND BEAUTIFUL SORROWS OF AVA LAVENDER BY LESLYE WALTON
This is one of the most beautifully written books I ever read. Seriously, if you are someone who appreciates a well written story then you will not be disappointed with this one. It was unbelievably sad – Leslye Walton’s writing created such a morose atmosphere that you cannot escape from. It was also quite a unique story line which I could never really predict. I wrote my full review of Ava Lavender over here.
“Fate. As a child, that word was often my only companion. It whispered to me from dark corners during lonely nights. It was the song of the birds in spring and the call of the wind through bare branches on a cold winter afternoon. Fate. Both my anguish and my solace. My escort and my cage.”
― Leslye Walton, The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender
KETCHUP CLOUDS BY ANNABEL PITCHER
This book was such a surprisingly good one, that I couldn’t help but recommend it to anyone that would listen. It came to me at a time when I was ready to give up on young adult contemporary books and I’m so thankful to have found it. I’d love to talk about it more but I think my review will give much more insight into how it made its way onto this list.
Humans. We’re all the same. There’s no escaping it. Doesn’t matter what language you speak or what clothes you wear. Some things don’t change. Families. Friends. Lovers. They’re the same in every city in every country in every continent of the world.”
– Annabel Pitcher, Ketchup Clouds
SALT TO THE SEA BY RUTA SEPETYES
I am a huge fan of Rute Septyes. She has a way of bringing historical fiction to life that completely shatters your soul, while leaving you to think long after you’ve completed the story. She also has the ability to tell a story from different POVs that truly feel as if a whole new person is sharing their perspective. Salt to the Sea (unsurprisingly, to me) won the Goodreads Choice Awards for YA fiction this year, and since it was the book I voted for, I completely understand why it won. It was a book that told a tale of an important, yet not so well known about, part of history.
“Every nation has hidden history, countless stories preserved only by those who experienced them. Stories of war are often read and discussed worldwide by readers whose nations stood on opposite sides during battle. History divided us, but through reading we can be united in story, study and remembrance. Books join us together as a global reading community, but more important, a global human community striving to learn from the past.”
– Ruta Sepetys, author’s note from Salt to the Sea.
THE NIGHTINGALE BY KRISTIN HANNAH
This book broke my heart into smithereens! I always enjoy historical fiction, and for some reason I’ve always been drawn to books set during the times of WWII, so naturally this book was on my TBR list since the moment I heard about it. The Nightingale is a book about the roles women played during the war, simply doing what needed to be done in order to survive. This book was hauntingly beautiful, with vivid female characters that kept changing as the story progressed. It is an emotional read that will leave you feeling cold, but it will also leave you a little more enlightened concerning the plights of women during that horrendous time.
“If I have learned anything in this long life of mine, it is this: in love we find out who we want to be; in war we find out who we are.”
– Kristin Hannah, The Nightingale
NOTES ON BEING TEENAGE BY ROSALIND JANA
I’m not really big on non-fiction books, but I made more of an effort this year to pick up this genre. Pan Macmillan very generously sent me this copy of Notes on Being Teenage, and it fast became a favourite. I wish this book was written when I was a teenager because it would’ve put so much into perspective for me! That being said, I still learnt a ton, and I am so happy it is out there for young girls to read. I wrote a blog post sharing six reasons why you should read Notes on Being Teenage, giving more insight into why I enjoyed this book so much.
“Why not focus on women’s achievements rather than how much weight they’ve lost or put on? Or admire all shapes rather than reinforce the line between skinny and curvy, like the only two options are Kate Moss or Kim Kardashian? When are we going to stop using the phrase ‘real women’? All women are real, unless they’re robots.”
– Rosalind Jana, Note on Being Teenage
ROOM BY EMMA DONOGHUE
Room was one of the first books I read for 2016 and I remember how emotional and disturbing it was to read. Not only was it quite a heavy read, but I felt that it touched on a combination of very real issues, from the innocent view of a child; while allowing me to understand every other perspective too. Through the telling of the story I felt the need to be patient with the characters and read with a sense of compassion and empathy instead of judging their actions and feelings. It was an incredible reading experience because so much was being shared in such a truthful, untainted manner and as the reader I needed to uncover the meaning behind so much of what was happening. My full review of Room can be read over here – I highly recommend this one!
“Scared is what you’re feeling,” says Ma, “but brave is what you’re doing.”
Word sandwiches always make her laugh but I wasn’t being funny.”
― Emma Donoghue, Room
SIX OF CROWS BY LEIGH BARDUGO
I don’t think it’s a surprise that Six of Crows made its way onto this list because it was truthfully, a fantastic book. It was filled with strong, complex; diverse characters that I came to love and the way the book was structured made it a pleasure to read. The writing was stunning too, but it was in no way an easy read. I’ve been avoiding Crooked Kingdoms ever since it was released a few months ago, because I’m genuinely sad that this will only be a duology. Hopefully I will get around to reading it soon. For my full review of Six of Crows, check out this post.
“It’s not natural for women to fight.”
“It’s not natural for someone to be as stupid as he is tall, and yet there you stand.”
― Leigh Bardugo, Six of Crows
A few others worth mentioning: Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari [5/5 stars], Stolen by Lucy Christopher [4/5 stars], The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne [5/5 stars], Every Day by David Levithan [4,5/5 stars], Whisper to Me by Nick Lake [4,5/5 stars], Heartless by Marissa Meyer [4,5/5 stars], Our Chemical Heart by Krystal Sutherland [4,5/5 stars] and The Apple Tart of Hope by Sarah Moore Fitzgerald [4,5/5 stars].
What were some of your favourite books for 2016? Drop me a comment! I’d love to know.